Toronto van attack: Suspect quizzed after 10 pedestrians killed

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Canadian police are questioning the suspected driver of a rented van that ploughed into pedestrians in northern Toronto on Monday, killing 10 and injuring 15.

Alek Minassian, 25, was not beforehand identified to authorities, police mentioned.

The incident seemed to be deliberate however the motive was not clear, officers added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned the “tragic and mindless assault” had introduced him “nice disappointment”.

In the meantime, an officer has been praised for not opening fireplace throughout a tense standoff with the suspect, who claimed to be armed.

Video broadcast on CBC Information confirmed a person pointing what seemed to be a gun at officers and shouting “kill me”.

The officer tells the person to “get down” and when the suspect says he has a gun, the officer repeats: “I do not care. Get down.” The suspect was then arrested with out pictures being fired.

How did the incident unfold?

Police mentioned the white rental van mounted the kerb on Yonge Avenue between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue at about 13:30 native time (17:30 GMT) on Monday and drove into pedestrians alongside a 2km (1.24 mile) stretch.

Reza Hashemi, who owns a video store on Yonge Avenue, instructed the BBC he heard screaming on the opposite facet of the highway.

He mentioned the van was repeatedly mounting the pavement and operating into folks.

One witness instructed Metropolis Information that the motive force was “hitting something that is available in the best way”.

“Individuals, fireplace hydrants, there’s mail containers being run over,” mentioned the unnamed man, who mentioned he was driving behind the van in the course of the incident.

Because the van continued, the person mentioned he sounded his horn to attempt to warn pedestrians. “I witnessed no less than six, seven folks being hit and flying within the air, like killed, on the road,” he mentioned.

Photos from the scene confirmed our bodies coated in orange sheets alongside the van’s route. Particles and gadgets of clothes had been scattered throughout the pavements and highway.

The van was delivered to a halt by police a number of streets away and was shortly surrounded.

What is understood of the suspect?

Police mentioned Alek Minassian was from the northern Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill and was not beforehand identified to authorities.

“The actions positively seemed deliberate,” mentioned Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders.

Public security minister Ralph Goodale mentioned there “would seem like no nationwide safety connections” and Canadian broadcaster CBC cited authorities officers as saying mentioned Mr Minassian was not related to any identified terror teams.

Minassian had beforehand attended a college for college kids with particular wants in north Toronto, former classmates mentioned.

He can be seen strolling round Thornlea Secondary Faculty together with his head down and palms clasped tightly collectively making meowing noises, Shereen Chami instructed Reuters.

However she mentioned Minassian had not been violent.

“He wasn’t a social individual, however from what I bear in mind he was completely innocent,” she instructed Reuters.

One other former scholar, Ari Bluff, mentioned Minassian didn’t appear to have many mates.

“I bear in mind seeing him most likely simply strolling down the halls, often by himself, or within the cafeteria by himself,” he mentioned. He was speaking to CBC.

Minassian went on to attend Seneca School within the North York space of Toronto, the place the van incident occurred, CBC reported.

What else is understood?

Van rental firm Ryder System Inc confirmed that certainly one of its autos was concerned and mentioned it was co-operating with authorities.

The incident occurred whereas overseas ministers of the G7 main industrialised nations – Canada, the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – had been holding talks in Toronto.

Overseas Minister Chrystia Freeland mentioned the G7 conferences would proceed on Tuesday as deliberate.

“The work of the ministers clearly goes on. It is a very unhappy day for the folks of Toronto and the folks of Canada,” she mentioned.

Metropolis Mayor John Tory urged residents to stay calm.

“This sort of tragic incident will not be consultant of how we reside or who we’re or something to do with life within the metropolis on a day-to-day foundation,” he mentioned.

The White Home issued a press release saying the US “stands with the Canadian folks” and providing “any assist Canada may have”.

Printed at Tue, 24 Apr 2018 06:10:35 +0000